In April I went on a trip out to the rainy Canadian Pacific coast. Leigh Industries invited us out to their factory in Port Coquitlam, British Colombia for a new product announcement. Ken Grisley (CEO and founder), Matt Grisley and Barry Martens showed us the factory, demonstrated some products and told us about new tools on the way, which we are now excited to offer to you.
THE AMAZING VRS
The main topic was the new VRS (Vacuum & Router Support) attachment for Leigh dovetail jigs. We put the VRS in our catalog a few weeks back with only the basic information because that is all we had. I saw it in operation and it is a fantastic addition to any Leigh dovetail jig. It mounts on the support arms of your jig and provides both dust control and router support. The only time you have to take it off is when you need to flip the fingerboard. Since it's held on by rare earth magnets, it is easy to remove and replace (it even has a handy hanger built in.) My favorite part of the VRS is that it gives you a place to park your router while adjusting the jig or changing out workpieces. See the VRS in action in the video at right.
WAIT...WHAT'S A SUPER JIG?
You are probably familiar with the venerable Leigh D4R jig (or its predecessors the D4, D3, D1258R & D1258). It has been the gold standard of dovetail jigs for many years. Nothing else on the market, offers its versatility or quality.
In 2005, Leigh added the D1600 jig to their line. It offered most of the features of the D4R at a much better price. Now the designers at Leigh have out done themselves. They have taken all of the good features of the D1600 and expanded on them to create a whole new line of jigs, the Super Jigs, which are an even better value.
The Super Jigs are available in 12", 18" and 24" models. Like previous Leigh versions, you can cut variably spaced through and half-blind dovetails in a variety of material sizes and thicknesses in two passes, or you can cut both sides of fixed spaced half-blinds at the same time. The Super Jigs also make sliding dovetails and 5/16" and 5/8" box joints right out of the package. There's no additional template to buy. You can even fine-tune the fit of the fingers with Leigh's new E-Bush template guide that adjusts in increments of .002.
Leigh redesigned their speed clamps for a more powerful grip, and made the finger assembly easier to slide and read. There's even a handy on-board reference card with set up information, and a quick setup jig for box joints and half-blind dovetails that stores on the jig.
With each size Super Jig you get: 1/2" 8° dovetail bit, 1/2" 14° dovetail bit, 5/16" straight bit, 1/2" to 8mm collet reducer, 7/16" template guide, cam-action speed clamps, sliding dovetail fence, square drive screwdriver (for adjusting the fingers), a really first-class instruction manual and DVD, the new E-Bush and some half-blind bridging material.
We should have them in stock later this month, so keep an eye on our website.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL, FOLKS! In addition to introducing their great new products, Leigh has drastically reduced the prices on a couple of existing items. The D4R jig is now only $399 instead of $479 and the FMT jig price has been slashed from $799 to an amazing $599!
All of the FMT jigs now shipping include the new Side Stop Fence. The Side Stop Fence for the Leigh Frame Mortise and Tenon jig is a big step forward. It is much larger than the original side stop and easier to adjust for vertical and angled use. It can even serve to steady your workpiece and prevent vibration during mortise routing. If you have an older FMT, you can upgrade for only $14.99.
PLUS, A CHANCE TO OWN A PIECE OF WOODWORKING HISTORY!
To celebrate Leigh's 25th Anniversary and the launch of their great new products, Highland Woodworking is giving you the opportunity to own a piece of woodworking history! Back in 1981, Leigh Industries introduced the TD 514 – the first through dovetail jig with variable spacing. Now we are giving away a vintage TD 514 which has been in our warehouse since then. The box is a little nagged up but the jig is in great condition. You'll get the TD 514, the original instructional poster, five bits and template guide adaptors. You can register for the giveaway here.